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Research and Development in Education and Training
The Nation is experiencing a scientific and technological revolution of unprecedented proportions. Its benefits depend
upon our capacity to meet the education and training challenges it presents.
Fortunately, this revolution also provides the means to meet these challenges. New research in the areas
of learning and teaching point to ways to improve curriculum and pedagogy.
Ensuring all Americans access to quality education and training tailored to their individual learning and
This vision sees new environments for lifelong learning that use technology to support new models of
learning and teaching for learners of all ages and conditions. These learning environments extend beyond
the confines of classroom walls to include the home, the community (e.g., museums, libraries, community
centers), and the workplace. They reach beyond the traditional school-age population. They will
aggressively support learning of complex content and complex approaches to problem solving.
As a Nation, we are devoting limited resources to achieve this learning productivity vision. Funding for
research and development in education and training comprises only 0.025% of education and training
activity. While workplaces and workers are taking advantage of our latest technological advances,
education and training lag farther and farther behind. We believe that a significant increase in our
current level of Federal investment in education and training research and development is required.
Provide National leadership in guiding education and training in its evolution toward the 21st century;
Develop a research and development agenda for achieving the National Education Goals by the end
of the decade;
Promote increased resources for research and development in education and training; and
Promote partnerships for demonstrating and deploying cost-effective learning technologies and
Identify and explore areas of research and development that significantly improve learning beyond
our current capabilities;
Coordinate the design and implementation of evaluations to assess the effectiveness of new
education and training technologies and techniques in a variety of settings;
Identify, demonstrate, and implement exemplary models of cost-effective education and training;
Make information on learning research and existing tools and techniques widely available; and
Enhance collaboration through interagency, intergovernmental, and industry partnerships that
increase learning productivity for all Americans.
Focus Areas in Priority Order
DEMONSTRATIONS OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY AND NETWORKING APPLICATIONS
Demonstrations of how hardware, software, and the National Information Infrastructure can be used for
advanced instructional systems.
NEW MODELS FOR EVALUATING LEARNING AND LEARNING PRODUCTIVITY
Research and technology that lead to a richer set of assessment tools to measure learning productivity.
DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE LEARNING TOOLS AND ENVIRONMENTS
Development of tools that make use of technology to increase the productivity of learning in all fields,
by all people. These tools may be used in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, and homes.
RESEARCH ON LEARNING AND COGNITIVE PROCESSES
Research that can improve understanding of the learning process and how technology can best support
the learning process.
It is our intention to initiate, maintain, and increase contacts with the international community to coordinate distance learning
and technology-based instructional activities leading to technical standards for increasing the availability and
portability of education and training materials.
The Research and Development Subcommittee has coordinated a budget cross-cut across Federal
agencies to determine the relative distribution of resources by Focus Area. The results of the budget
assessment indicate that while the Federal Government has made substantial investments in learning
research and tool development, programs to transition the products of research and development to the
public and private sector have been underfunded. As a result, the CET has placed a high priority on
facilitating national demonstrations and evaluations of learning technologies and the development of
better evaluative tools and techniques. Research on learning and cognition and development of new
learning tools and environments will be focused on the support of technology demonstrations and other
Most of the work in the area of research and development in education and training falls within the
scope of new efforts. The NSTC has dramatically expanded the scope and emphasis of this area, and
as a result, the majority of work being done is in programmatic planning, definition and development.
Specific milestones and performance measures will depend upon the completion of the planning phases
for each initiative. All planning is aimed at implementing operational phases by the end of the First
Quarter of FY 1998.
The Research and Development Subcommittee will work closely with industry to improve communication
and cooperation and to rapidly commercialize research and development products wherever
possible. In general, the Federal agencies will focus on areas which are high risk or require complex
experimental design and independent evaluation. The National Coordinating Council for Technology
in Education and Training will serve as a key industry interface for the CET.
The Research and Development Subcommittee will also coordinate plans and initiatives with State and
local communities. These projects will be designed with the input and participation of teachers, parents,
workers, and business and community leaders in order to ensure that their needs and concerns are
The CET has created an interagency technology initiative to ensure that the goals and objectives of the
Plan are fully coordinated across Federal agencies and to serve as a focal point for communication with
State and local governments and industry. The initiative will:
Draw upon the knowledge and expertise within each of the agencies as well as the public and
Coordinate plans, programs, and budgets for collaborative efforts; and
Widely disseminate information on education and training related to research, development, and
Focus Area Sub Elements
DEMONSTRATIONS OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY AND
1.1 Education and training for disadvantaged youth and youth with disabilities
Demonstrations of new approaches for young people with disabilities, academic or economic
disadvantages, or limited English language proficiency to improve their access to education and
training and the effectiveness of the education and training they receive.
1.2 Promotion of effective school-to-work transitions
Demonstrations of new approaches that ease the transition of students from school to the
workplace and that decrease the time it takes for them to fully participate as effective members of
the work force.
1.3 Models and road maps for technology use to ensure that learners and instructors are capable
of using educational technology
Demonstrations of (a) new approaches that increase the efficiency and effectiveness with which
technology is transferred to instructional institutions, (b) procedures that help prepare learners and
instructors use instructional technology effectively, or (c) changes within institutions that help ensure
effective use of instructional technology.
1.4 Professional development of teachers and instructors
Demonstrations of programs of instruction that increase the ability of teachers and instructors to
prepare and provide effective instruction.
1.5 Manufacturing education and training
Demonstrations of new approaches that increase the efficiency and effectiveness with which
students can be prepared to enter the manufacturing work force and the efficiency and effectiveness
with which they can maintain their skills or acquire new skills to continue participating in the
1.6 Linkages among all levels of education, the private sector, and local communities
Demonstrations of new approaches that integrate all public and private instructional resources
available within local communities, increase their accessibility to all members of the community, focus
them on providing local solutions to local problems, and increase the viability of the communities.
1.7 Systemic education reform, institutional change, and overcoming barriers to the use of
technologies for advanced modes of education and training
Demonstrations of new approaches that enhance the cost-effectiveness of instructional institutions,
help integrate and encourage effective use of technology in their activities, and help them devise new
organizational forms that enhance their productivity.
NEW MODELS FOR EVALUATING LEARNING AND
2.1 Learning productivity
Research, development, and assessment of models and measures that establish relationships
between the effective accomplishment of instructional objectives and useful descriptions and measures
of the productivity of schools and other instructional programs and institutions. This category relates
the effectiveness of instruction to definitions of the productivity of schools and training institutions.
2.2 Impact of learning productivity on institutional viability
Research, development, and assessment to determine how improvements in the effectiveness of
education, such as school restructuring and the effectiveness of training, affect the viability, productivity,
or well-being of the institutions (e.g., organizations, businesses, communities, countries) that provide
them. This category includes school and organizational structuring and restructuring.
2.3 New assessment tools
Research, development, and assessment to design, implement, and use technology-based
capabilities, such as those found in computer-based instruction, interactive videodisk instruction,
and instructional simulation, to assess learning progress, simultaneous learner assessment and
instruction, instruction based on simulation, learner self-assessment tools, learning tailored to individual
needs, and standards-based learning.
DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE
LEARNING TOOLS AND ENVIRONMENTS
3.1 Materials development
Research, development, and assessment to determine how best to design and implement tools for
producing or "authoring" technology-based instructional materials, reusing and modifying existing
technology-based materials when they conform with national standards, developing "just-in-time,
just-enough" instruction, developing instruction embedded in operational equipment, developing
interactive multimedia instruction, and constructing simulated environments for instruction. This
element also includes development of technical standards for the production of all technology-based
3.2 Personalized teaching and learning capabilities
Research, development, and assessment of technology-based capabilities that learners need to
manage their instructional progress in school and lifelong learning settings. These capabilities range
from technology-based learner's advisors through instructional management capabilities, to intelligent
3.3 Collaborative problem solving
Research, development, and assessment to design and implement learning environments that
focus on collaborative efforts among students or workers and stimulate teamwork to solve problems
posed in a learning environment. This category includes uses of technology to facilitate collaborative
3.4 Access to shared or distributed resources and expertise
Research, development, and assessment to guide learners to sources of information they need
and to make these sources of information accessible to all learners. These sources include digital
libraries, human subject matter experts, and mentors.
3.5 Integration of technology-based instruction
Research, development, and assessment to help ensure that teachers and instructors can
successfully incorporate technology into their existing instruction, that technology-based learning
tools meet both local and national standards, and that today's instructional institutions and workplaces
realize the benefits of new instructional technology as quickly as possible.
RESEARCH ON LEARNING AND COGNITIVE PROCESSES
4.1 New learning paradigms
Research and development to improve our understanding of how people learn and of the
mechanisms and processes through which instruction can and does affect learning. This category
includes basic research on cognition, learning, and memory and on how they are affected by instruction.
4.2 Effecting change in teaching and training
Research and development on ways to effect change in our current institutions for teaching,
training, and lifelong learning. This category includes efforts to determine (a) the roles that teachers,
students, and lifelong learners should play to increase the effectiveness of learning and (b) ways to
incorporate these roles in instructional institutions and workplaces.
4.3 Curriculum structuring and restructuring
Research and development on the design of a standards-based curriculum and programs of
instruction. This category of research and development includes efforts to design and structure
a curriculum so that it takes advantage of technology-based capabilities for administrative management,
information handling, and the tailoring of instruction to each individual's needs, interests, abilities,
and learning style.
4.4 Special needs
Research and development to identify the unique instructional challenges faced by learners in
special populations, to assess their ability to respond to these challenges, and to exploit the capabilities
offered by technology-based instruction. These populations include learners who must overcome
disabilities, academic or economic disadvantages, limited English language proficiency, or other
difficulties to take advantage of instructional opportunities and participate fully in the work force.
4.5 Cognitive task analysis
Research and development to determine the cognitive processes that underlie the skill and
knowledge requirements needed to accomplish real-world tasks. This activity includes research to
better understand the evolving content needs of growth-oriented knowledge industries and the
cognitive tasks that individuals must possess to meet these needs.